Review Category : National News

Eight Shot, Including 11-Year-Old, Amid MLK Celebration in Miami: Police

iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Eight people were shot during celebrations for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Miami, including an 11-year-old girl, according to police.

Shots were fired at the MLK Memorial Park Monday afternoon, causing spectators to flee for safety, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department. Five of the victims were minors, police said.

Six of the wounded were taken to local hospitals, and two of the minors were treated on scene. The conditions of those hospitalized were not clear.

Two suspects were detained for questioning, police said, and two guns were recovered on the scene.

It is unclear if there are additional suspects at large, police said.

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NASA Astronaut and Last Man to Walk On the Moon Gene Cernan Dead at 82

Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The last man to walk on the moon, NASA astronaut Gene Cernan, has died at 82.

Cernan was commander of the Apollo 17 mission, the final lunar landing, in December 1972. He and fellow astronaut Jack Schmitt spent three days on lunar excursions, and when Cernan took his last step on the moon he said, “We leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.”

The astronaut was also a longtime consultant for ABC News.

NASA administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden told ABC News Cernan didn’t want to be the last astronaut to touch the moon. According to Bolden, if Cernan were still alive, he would say, “Let’s get back to space and let’s get back to the surface of the moon and on to Mars.”

Bolden recalled from when he was first an astronaut that Cernan was a “young, swashbuckling test pilot turned astronaut.”

“He was bold, brash, and confident, cocky almost – but incredibly proud of having been one of those few people who had actually had an opportunity to leave our planet and set foot on another body in our solar system,” he told ABC News.

In a statement, the astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center said: “Our heart is aching. The world has lost one of the greats. A true hero. RIP dear Gene. We are consoled knowing that he is reuniting with Neil Armstrong. The buds are back together.”

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Marine Surprises Girlfriend on Snowy Doorstep to Pop the Question

Katherine Anne Photography(PARMA, Ohio) — Marine Jon Trommer, adorned in his dress blues, surprised his girlfriend, Mandy Wehe, on the snow-covered doorstep of her parents’ home to pop the question.

She had no idea he was home from being stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California, let alone with a diamond ring.

“With my unit, we only get vacation or leave twice a year,” Trommer, 22, told ABC News. “They usually tell us a few months in advance.”

He believed he would have time off to get home in January, but “then we got word from our command that we can come home earlier,” said Trommer. So he used the unexpected good news to his advantage for the surprise proposal.

“Her siblings and her parents knew, everyone except her,” he said.

The lovebirds had arranged to have a Facetime date at noon, as they often do to appease their long-distance relationship.

“I wanted to make sure she was ready enough,” said Trommer, who had hired a professional photographer to capture the big moment. “I didn’t want to come to her house and have her not be there so I said, ‘For our Facetime date, let’s get dressed up really nice and do something fun,’ and she’s like, ‘OK.’”

He flew home the night before with the ring in his backpack, nervous to travel with it. As he arrived at her parents’ house in Parma, Ohio, Wehe, 29, almost didn’t open the door, but her sister insisted.

“She didn’t want to answer the door and of course her sister knows it’s me,” Trommer recalled.

As Wehe locked eyes with her soon-to-be-groom, she got weak in the knees before running outside barefoot in the snow to reply, “Yes,” said Trommer.

“It went really smoothly,” a relieved Trommer said. “It was so hard to keep the secret from her.”

The happy couple plan to wed on Aug. 12 at American Wilderness Campground in Grafton, Ohio.

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Video Captures Massive Alligator at Nature Preserve in Central Florida

Kim Joiner(LAKELAND, Fla.) — A massive alligator turned heads in Central Florida over the weekend.

In a video taken Sunday afternoon at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, the gigantic reptile appears out of some brush and slowly walks across a patch of grass on the reserve’s Marsh Rabbit Run. Onlookers are seen in the background peering at the wild beast through camera lenses.

“I love Circle B,” Polk County resident Kim Joiner wrote when posting the video. “Nature at its best.”

Local residents have nicknamed the alligator “Humpback,” according to comments on the video.

The video of “Humpback” had been shared more than 20,000 times as of Monday afternoon.

Last year, a 14- to 15-foot alligator drew comparisons to a dinosaur after it was seen walking on a golf course in Palmetto, Florida, ABC Tampa affiliate WFTS-TV reported.

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Wife of Pulse Nightclub Gunman Arrested in San Francisco

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — The wife of the gunman who carried out a mass shooting an Orlando, Florida, nightclub was arrested by the FBI Monday in San Francisco, the FBI and her lawyer said.

Gunman Omar Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, faces two federal charges: obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting the attempted provision of material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

She is expected to appear in court on Tuesday for a first appearance, her lawyer told ABC News. Salman is expected to be extradited to Tampa, Florida, where she was indicted.

Mateen was killed in a police shootout after he carried out the June 12 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people.

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Photographer Recounts Martin Luther King, Civil Rights Movement

Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. said in a sermon: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The civil rights movement came to a crossroads during the Selma-to-Montgomery march of 1965. Photographer Steve Schapiro captured the moment in an image of King linking arms with fellow civil rights activists John Lewis, the Rev. Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy. The image captures the leadership, the unity, and the strength of the civil rights leaders, who faced violence from law enforcement as well as death threats during their fight for voting rights for African Americans.

Schapiro covered two of the Selma-to-Montgomery marches for Life magazine, and while he said he knew the events were important, he had no idea the impact the images would eventually have.

“Only 300 people were allowed to participate in the third march, and there was a sense that violence might occur,” he told ABC News recently ahead of MLK Day.

King and the Southern Christian Leadership Council organized the march to bring attention to discrimination against black voters. There were three attempts to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. This first took place on March 7, a day that would later be called “Bloody Sunday.” Alabama State Troopers charged into the crowd with batons, injuring scores of protesters.

During the second march, protesters crossed the bridge, but when they reached the end of it, the troopers were stationed there. King knelt and prayed and decided to turn back.

The third march, documented in Schapiro’s photo, took place on March 21. Although the image was not published in 1965, it has come to represent the march that marked a turning point in the movement. Following “Bloody Sunday,” President Lyndon B. Johnson called for legislation protecting the voting rights of African Americans. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law that August.

Schapiro recalled shooting 12 to 14 rolls of film that day, and would send it through baggage on American Airlines back to the Life magazine office each night, hoping that his pictures would run in the following week’s issue.

In the picture of King linking arms with other civil rights leaders, “the first thing you think of is you’ve got to walk backwards very quickly to be able to keep making these photographs,” Schapiro said. “And you’re looking for that moment when everyone has a particular look that has a sense of meaning. You’re looking for something where the design of the photo has that quality.”

Schapiro said he believes that his image of the five men marching together symbolizes the positive aspects of the civil rights movement while Charles Moore’s photos of African-American protesters being sprayed with fire hoses and attacked by dogs symbolize the negative.

Growing up, Schapiro aspired to be a Life magazine photographer, so he said he gave himself assignments. Starting his career as a freelance photographer in 1961, he covered everything from an Arkansas migrant worker camp to a story on narcotics in East Harlem, New York.

Life first hired him in 1962, and in addition to covering the Selma-to-Montgomery march and other events for the publication, he worked on a project based on James Baldwin’s 1963 book, The Fire Next Time, which discusses the challenges facing African Americans in the 1960s. His photographs documenting James Baldwin will be published in March.

Though he has photographed celebrities from David Bowie to Barbara Streisand to Jackie Kennedy, he said, “My heart has always been in documentary photography.”

The first time Schapiro photographed King was after the bombing of the church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young girls in 1963.

“I always saw Martin Luther King Jr. as this incredible spiritual leader, who spoke in a way that inspired people in emotional tones,” Schapiro said. “What you don’t realize is that people are human at the same time. You can be a leader and still have your own particular worries.”

King had received many death threats, and Schapiro said that Andrew Young, the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was well aware of the possibility of violence at the march.

“On the last day of the Selma march, Andrew Young only let people wearing black suits in the front line because he thought someone might shoot King and they wouldn’t know which one was King,” Schapiro said. “I think King was aware of all of this. What I had not seen before was that looking at a great number of my pictures, there was something in his eyes. I don’t know what the right word is — forbearance, perhaps. Looking at the crowd and searching for who is there, not to smile at them or wave at them, but with a degree of concern and knowing that the prospects of danger were there at all times. And he had experienced this for years.”

Some of King’s stoicism and vigilance comes across in another iconic image that Schapiro took.

In the image, which was also taken at the Selma-to-Montgomery march, King gazes at the camera with a flag behind him. As Schapiro was taking it, he said he knew that the photo had a symbolic structure and that it captured the spirit of the civil rights leader.

However, the fact that 50 years later, Schapiro would see his image on the t-shirts of participants in the 50th anniversary Selma-to-Montgomery march still amazes him, he said.

“You would constantly be moving and seeing so many things that you never could pin down something as being historical or anything like that,” he said. “You took a lot of pictures and you really were trying to get a sense of the people, a sense of the event, a sense of the subject and if you did that, you felt successful.”

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Parents Defend Daughter Accused in ‘Slender Man’ Stabbing as Trial Approaches

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The parents of Anissa Weier, one of two 12-year-old girls who allegedly stabbed another girl 19 times in an effort to impress fictional internet character “Slender Man,” said Monday they were as shocked by the 2014 attack as everyone else.

“It was really kind of surreal from the time I got the phone call,” Bill Weier, Anissa’s father, told Good Morning America Monday of his reaction to news of his daughter’s alleged connection to the incident in the woods of a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb. “I think surreal is the best way to describe it.”

Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, both now 15, have been charged with the attempted murder of Payton Leutner, who was purportedly their friend at the time of the attack, and will be tried as adults this summer in a Wisconsin court.

They remain in jail after a judge last year denied their motions for bail reductions. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges on grounds of mental illness.

The injured Payton Leutner purportedly crawled to a road where a cyclist found her and alerted authorities. She was rushed to a hospital, and survived.

The interview with Anissa’s parents comes in advance of a forthcoming HBO documentary, Beware the Slenderman, which will air for the first time next Monday.

“This isn’t a ‘whodunit,’” Irene Taylor Brodsky, the director of the documentary, told GMA of the film. “We know they did it. It’s really a ‘howdunit.’ It’s a ‘whydunit.’”

The Weiers’ described their daughter as being remorseful and don’t believe she should be tried as an adult because they say the laws are not sufficiently up-to-date with the science of juvenile brain development.

Children as young as 10 can be tried as adults in Wisconsin.

Kristi Weier, Anissa’s mother, told GMA that when HBO approached her, she agreed to participate in an effort to help other parents who might be caught off guard by what their children are consuming online.

“If we were not able to help our daughter,” she said, “we might be able to help someone else.”

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Coretta Scott King Speaks Out in Posthumous Memoir: ‘This Family Was Chosen’

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Coretta Scott King revealed for the first time intimate stories of her life with the legendary civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a new posthumous memoir.

“I believe Martin was chosen, I believe I was chosen, and I say to the kids, this family was chosen as well,” Coretta Scott King says in her memoir that was penned by journalist Barbara Reynolds based on hours of previously unheard interviews.

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, referred to her mother as “the architect of this King legacy” in an interview with Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts that aired Monday.

“What we know of my father,” Bernice King said, “really came from her resilience, her determination, her faith, her courage.”

“She used to say that this family is called,” Bernice King added. “We grew up hearing that a lot.”

Bernice King said that she still feels called, in the same way her mother was, to fight “for human rights and dignity.”

In her memoir, Scott King details how she dedicated her life not only to her husband and their four children, but also to their shared Christian beliefs and racial justice goals. She remained by her husband’s side throughout his almost 13 years as the leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, up until his assassination in 1968.

“I don’t know what it was about her, but in those crises moments, in those very difficult, challenging times she rose to an occasion,” Bernice King recalled of her mother. “And she could carry you. She could carry many people.”

Coretta Scott King would ultimately go on to preserve her husband’s memory through the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Ga., as well as lobby for 15 years to help establish the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday.

Bernice King told GMA that despite everything, her mother still felt like the vast contributions she made to the civil rights movement were overlooked.

Bernice King added that she hopes those who read the memoir will learn that “Martin didn’t make Coretta Scott King. When they met she was prepared.”

“I honestly believe in a different kind of way she did greater things. Probably because she lived longer,” Bernice King said, “But also because she had the insight to see who he really was, and articulate it in a way that an entire world could embrace regardless of, of your background.”

Coretta Scott King’s memoir, My Life, My Love, My Legacy will be released in bookstores nationwide and online on Jan. 17.

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Trump to Meet with Martin Luther King Jr.’s Son Today

ABC News(NEW YORK) — President-elect Donald Trump is expected to meet Monday with Martin Luther King Jr.’s son to discuss the civil rights leader’s legacy.

Trump’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, announced on Twitter that the president-elect is meeting with Martin Luther King III Monday, the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr..

Today we observe the birthday of #MartinLutherKing@realDonaldTrump will meet with Martin Luther King III to discuss his legacy #MLKDAY

— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) January 16, 2017

Senior transition sources initially said Trump would visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture Monday. But ABC later learned that the visit was removed from his calendar due to scheduling issues and was not fully planned out. Spicer said Monday that the president-elect was never planning to go to the museum.

“He was never going to Washington,” Spicer asserted on Fox News. “I think what he was trying to do was find an appropriate way to celebrate and observe Martin Luther King’s birthday. He is going to meet with a group of individuals today, including Martin Luther King III to talk about that legacy and celebrate the birthday of Dr. King.”

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Martin Luther King Jr. Impersonator Discovers Life’s Calling Through Famous Speeches

Adam Rivera/ABC News(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) — Stephon Ferguson, 48, discovered his “gift” by chance in the late 90s.

While mixing a vinyl recording of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech with a music beat, he started to mimic King’s voice.

“A friend of mine heard me and came into the room asking if that was me,” Ferguson told ABC News. “I told him that it was and he said, ‘You should really learn King’s work. Imagine the people that you can bless by being able to reinvigorate Dr. King’s dream.'”

Since then, Ferguson has made it his life’s work to impersonate the civil rights leader and study King’s words.

Using one’s voice came naturally to Ferguson. Growing up in a large family with minister parents in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was steeped him in the spoken word. But after graduating from high school he followed in his siblings’ footsteps and joined the military.

“All of my brothers were in the military and three of my sisters. Seven of us served in every branch of the service except for the Navy,” Ferguson said.

After completing his service in 1993, he pursued a passion for broadcasting. He landed an on-air gig at 107.7 “The Flava” in Fayetteville. In his spare time, Ferguson was performing in an aspiring rap group called Peace 2 U.

“My friend was the leader of the group and I wrote a lot of rhymes and produced tracks for other rappers,” Ferguson said.

However, after realizing his ability to emulate King, Ferguson went to work committing King’s well-known speeches to memory. Starting with “I Have a Dream,” he continued to memorize King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and has also perfected King’s final public speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” According to Ferguson, “this talent is directly from God. There’s no way in the world I could do this myself. I would have never been able to memorize 30 minute speeches.”

During his study of King, Ferguson broke down the powerful speeches word by word. He’d note the crescendos and listen for nuances in tone. He also researched the circumstances surrounding the speeches. Before performing “I Have a Dream,” Ferguson imagines himself as King in the early morning of Aug. 28, 1963, as the final touches were made to the historic speech.

Throughout the months of January and February, Ferguson’s schedule is packed crisscrossing the country. He gets booked to speak at churches, universities, business conferences and military bases. By 2005, he secured a license from the King Estate to perform the speeches legally.

Speaking as King has had a surprise impact on Ferguson’s life. It reminded him of a calling that he heard years ago. “I’ve actually been running from the call to the ministry for a while, but King has led me back,” he said.

He added, “People will always want to hear Dr. King’s words because they’re so prophetic. You can pull things that can help us today and it’s significant.”

Ferguson is enrolled at the Morehouse School of Religion and is an associate minister at the Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. “It has built my faith just studying King. You can build your faith off of what other people have been through,” Ferguson said.

When Ferguson is not traveling, he volunteers regularly at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The site, which is operated by the National Park Service, is hallowed ground to those familiar with King’s life. King was baptized in 1934 at the church and his funeral was held there in 1968.

Ferguson intends to speak as King for as long as possible. For him, it’s a divine mission to carry on King’s spirit and message to inspire new generations just like he was years ago.

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